Skip to main content

About this Show

Funeral Mass

Series/Special. Remembering Sen. Edward M. Kennedy from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Boston, Mass.












Us 45, Lord 14, Kennedy 12, Ted Kennedy 11, Heaven 8, Vicki 7, Massachusetts 5, Clinton 4, Mrs. Obama 3, Boston 3, Christ 2, Caroline 2, Carter 2, Nantucket 2, Eucharist 2, Mrs. Biden 2, Jesus Christ 2, Washington 2, Jean 2, Kara 1,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    Funeral Mass    Series/Special. Remembering Sen. Edward M. Kennedy  
   from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Boston, Mass.  

    August 29, 2009
    10:30 - 12:30pm EDT  

[bells chiming]
♪ ♪
>> the greatness of god our father and the lord jesus christ be with all of you. >> and also with you. >> my dear friends, in the spirit of this historic church so close to the hopes and aspirations of the city, we welcome the body of our friend and brother, senator ted kennedy. almost from birth, senator kennedy led a uniquely public life. his life was part of ours. our lives a concern of his. but ted also led a private life. a life of faith and of prayer that his actions always pointed to. but that was zealously pius. it is perhaps here in the quiet of this sacred space that he
visited so often that we can best recognize that the two lives, public and private, were actually one. it was the private life of faith and of prayer that held the secret to the extraordinary public life of compassion and of service. and so in the spirit of the faith that senator kennedy enjoyed, and of his compassion that we share, we begin. in the waters of baptism, senator kennedy died with christ and rose with him to new life. may he now share with him eternal glory.
♪ ♪ ♪
♪. . ♪
>> good morning. in the name of the very reverend father patrick woods, the superior of the redemptuous of the baltimore province and community, it is my privilege to welcome you tomorrow to the aboubasilica of our mother of pr petal help, affectionately known
as mission church. most eminent cardinal shawn o'malley, archbishop of boston, welcome once again to this basilica. the redemptors family looks forward to many future visits. we gather today with sadness but with hope as we mark the passing of the distinguished senior senator from massachusetts, the honorable edward moore kennedy. to mrs. kennedy and all the family, we offer our sincere condolences and prayers. in this place of faith and hope and healing we come together with confidence that senator kennedy has gone forth to the light through the presence and the mercy of the lord. we are honored this morning to
welcome president and mrs. obama, vice president and mrs. biden, honorable former presidents and first ladies of the united states, members of congress, the representative of the british prime minister, the secretary of state for northern ireland, massachusetts governor duval patrick, mayor of boston, and all distinguished guests. as we begin, be assured that all of you are always welcome in this blessed and holy place. may each of us share in the gifts of strength and peace that senator kennedy found as he came here to pray, especially at the altar of our mother of per petal health -- per petal health.
>> my dear friends, a few miles from here the city on the hill stands. in the sea toward nantucket, it's a bit more forlorn at the loss of one of its most ardent lovers. in welcoming you to the mass, the resurrection, to commemorate of life of senator kennedy, i'm sure i speak for everyone in expressing our sincerest sympathies to all the kennedy family, but especially to the senator's wife to his sons teddy and patrick and his daughter kara and to his sister jean. we share your sadness as we shared your love and your pride
for your husband and father and brother and friend. in the church's liturgy of the eucharist, sadness with hope, sheer vanished in the faith in the love and compassion in the christ our lord who through his own death and resurrection has overcome death. and so as a believing community, let us now pray. almighty god, our father, it is our christian faith that your son died and rose to life. we pray for our dear friend and brother, ted kennedy, who has died in christ. through your love and compassion raise him at the last day to share the glory of the risen christ who lives and reigns with
you in the holy spirit, one god, forever and ever. >> amen. >> be seated for the liturgy of the word. >> the first reading is a reading from the book of wisdom. "the souls of the just are in the hand of god and no torment shall touch them. they seem in the view of the
foolish to be dead, and their passing away was thought an affliction. and their going forth from us uttered destruction. but they are at peace. forth before men, indeed, they be punished yet is their hope full of immortality, chastised a little they shall be greatly blessed because god tried them and found them worthy of himself. as gold in the furnace he proved them and his sacrificial offerings, he took them to himself. in the time of their visitation they shall shine and shall dart about as sparks through stubble. they shall judge nations and rule over people. and the lord shall be their king forever. those who trust in him shall understand truth. and the faithful shall abide with him in love.
because grace and mercy are with his holy one and his care is with his elect." the word of the lord. >> thanks be to god. >> first psalm72. "justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace forever." >> justice shall flourish in his time and fullness and peace forever. >> "the mountains show peace for the people and the hills justice. he shall defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the poor." justice shall flourish in his time and fullness and peace
forever. "justice shall flower in his days and profound peace till the moon be no more. may he rule from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth." justice shall flourish in his time and fullness and peace forever. "for he shall rescue the poor man when he cries out and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. he shall have pity for the lowly and the poor, the lives of the poor he shall save." justice will flourish in his time and fullness and peace forever. "may his name be blessed forever as long as the sun his name shall remain. in him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed, all the nations shall proclaim his happiness." justice shall flourish in his time and fullness and peace
forever. >> the second reading is a letter of paul to the romans. "if god is for us, who can be against us? he who does not spare his own son but hand him over for us all. how will he not also give us everything else along with him? who will bring a charge against god chosen ones? is it god who aquilts us, will condemn. it is jesus christ who died, is raised and is at the right hand
of god. what will separate us from the love of christ? will anger or distress or persecution or famine or peril or nakedness or the sword? no. in all of these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. for i am convinced that neither death for life nor angels nor principalities nor present things nor future things nor power nor height nor depth nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of god. in christ lord. jesus our lord. the word of the lord. thanks be to god.
>> friends, the lord be with you. >> and also with you. >> a reading from the holy gospel according to matthew. >> glory to you, lord. >> jesus said to his disciples, when the son of man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne and all the nations will be assembled before him. and he will separate them one
from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. he'll place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. and then the king will say to those on his right, come. you are blessed by my father. inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world for i was hungry and you gave me food, i was thirsty and you gave me a drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you advise yitded me -- visited me. then the righteous will answer him and say, lord, when do we see you hungry and feed you? or thirsty and give you a drink? when did we see you a stranger and welcome you or naked and clothe you? when did we see you ill or in prison and visit you? and the king will say to them in
reply, amen. i say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine you did for me. then he'll say to those on his left, depart from me you are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for i was hungry and you gave me no food, i was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison and you did not care for me. then they will answer and say, lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison and not minister to your needs? he'll answer them, amen, amen. i say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones you did not do for me.
and these will go off to eternal punishment. but the righteous to eternal life. the gospel of the lord. >> praise to you, lord jesus christ. >> so good morning, everyone. once again there have been a series of introductions already. but we certainly want to greet your eminence, cardinal shawn, president and mrs. obama, president and mrs. bush, president clinton and secretary clinton, president carter and mrs. carter and our vice president and mrs. biden. all of us in church today dear friends of ted. and especially you, vicki,
caroline, kara, teddy, patrick, your mother joan. a sister everyone in the world would love to have in you, jean, with your devotion. dr. larry and a great team of doctors and nurses. and so many helpers at hyannis port these last weeks and months. and most especially the youngest of ted's gang, gracie and max, kiley and teddy. in the catholic tradition, the mass of christian burial weaves together memory and hope. the worship of the church locates us precisely between a past we referentially remember and a future in which we firmly believe. we gather today as a community drawn from across the nation to entrust the life of senator edward kennedy into the hands of god and to provide you
consolation and support. we bring with us treasured memories of ted kennedy. memories not only of a national leader and a master legislator but of a beloved husband, a great father, a terrific grandfather, a sweet uncle, a dear friend, a trusted colleague, a wise mentor. we enter this church with these memories acutely alive for each of us. we gather to treasure the memory and to share our sense of loss. the liturgy of the mass, its scripture, its music and ritual are designed to acknowledge these memories to provide a context of prayerful and communal reflection in which they can be held as deeply personal and sacred. but the liturgy does not leave us in the past alone.
it points us in christian hope to the future. our prayer expressed in confidence and hope is about the destiny of our brother and friend with his future with god. the biblical readings of the day selected by ted and vicki and his family move us from memory to hope, from the past to the future. the first lesson of the mass, speaking the words of wisdom. the souls of the just are in the hand of god. we believe our lives are in the hands of god in life and death. st. paul states our case with his usual confidence. and caroline proclaimed it with such beauty. for i'm sure that neither death
nor life nor angels nor principalities nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of god in christ jesus our lord. that confidence, the triumph of life over death, is rooted in the central belief of christian faith, the resurrection of christ the lord. the christian conviction upon which all faith is built is that christ, who passed through death to new life, will, as he promised, lead us through death to new life as well. on this day we hold the memory of the life of senator kennedy with reverence and with respect. we also recognize that like all
of us his life has a destiny beyond history. the destiny of risen life in the kingdom of god. the gospel of matthew from which i proclaimed focuses our attention on this destiny by reminding us of the words of jesus and the tests he posed for entrance into that kingdom. oh come, blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you of the foundation of the world. for i was hungry and you gave me food. i was thirsty and you gave me drink. i was a stranger and you welcomed me. i was naked and you clothed me. i was sick and you visited me. i was in prison and you came to me. in this text, on this day, our memories and our hopes converge. these works of the kingdom were
daily concerns of the public life of teddy kennedy. they were the fabric of his mind, heart, and hands as he sought to realize them in a society dramatically more complex than the society in which jesus spoke these words. our confident, christian hope is that the fruits of his work as a political and public figure have well prepared him for god's kingdom. as we together reflect upon ted's life, the choice of this incredible basilica church as the place for his funeral provide a fitting context for our thoughts and prayers. this reminds us of two important aspects of the senator's life and work. first we've come to know since
the days of his edge that when critical illness threatened his own daughter, he came to this place daily to pray. he came here like generations before him, seeking the healing hand of god. we're reminded that the most public personalities also live a very personal existence. this church was the place of private prayer for a public man. second, this church sits in the midst of neighborhoods where the important issues that animated ted kennedy's career are so frankly visible. the needs of the poor, social justice, health care and education, housing and the minimum wage. the senator's choice of this church for his funeral mass resonates with the meaning and
the purpose of his life and work. as i search for words which could capture his life, i've been struck by how many different perspectives could be brought to bare upon it by so many gathered today. by vicki and their children, by the many members of the kennedy clan, by the presidents, by members of both houses of the united states congress and of both political parties, by dedicated staff who served him over four decades, and as we've seen these last days, especially by the citizens of massachusetts, whom he faithfully served. the extraordinary diversity of these many memories is rather overwhelming. it is neither my place nor within my power to capture them all. i know ted and vicki and their family as their parish priest.
my sources of reflection are the scriptures and the pastoral experience of ministering to ted and his family. my vision, like yours, can't encompass the toe take the -- totality of his life. my memories seem to the lends of a catholic parish priest are about how one person, one man, a husband, a father, a public figure, a catholic, and a citizen tried to meet the tests of the kingdom of matthew's gospel. to know him as a pastor was to be introduced to the kennedy family. the senator led the family. he was supported by it through a long and complex career. and he was sustained by your family as his life entered its final chapter. all of us know by instinct the
fundamental importance of our families. none of us expect to face the great responsibility of being the most visible figure in a family whose narrative is woven through the history of our nation over the past century. as a priest, i saw him treasure and draw strength from his family. like others here today, i watched as his role of this family's leader required that he sustain them all through life and death, through victory and tragedy. it is not too much to say that his abiding political and legislative concern for the welfare of families, especially those of the socioeconomic edge of american life, was rooted in his own experience of a vibrant and caring family life. senator kennedy was a tower of
strength to his family and a towering presence on the american public landscape. others are better suited than i to describe in detail his legacy. as a pastor, my description seeks to root his public life in his personal convictions. no person's faith is easily summarized. the broad demands of christian discipleship are clear enough in principle. few of us, if any, meet them all. but we're all called to pursue the full vision of faith even as we recognize the inevitable gap between what we're called to and what we, in fact, achieve. indeed, most of us have a strong suit matched with gaps and struggles. there are few passages which express this more pointedly and
more poignantly than senator kennedy's own eulogy for his dear brother robert at st. patrick's cathedral in 1968. there, when he said, "my brother need not be idolized or -- idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life. to be remembered simply as a good and decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it." like both of his brothers, ted kennedy was a public man with a public faith. his strongsuit was a central stream of biblical faith expressed both in the hebrew and christian scriptures. his strongsuit was the faith of
the great hebrew prophets of isiah, jeramiah, amos. it was they who tied the quality of faith to the character of justice in the land. it was they who stood in defense of the widows, the orphans and refugees of their time. the striking resemblance of these groups to the women, children, families and immigrants in poverty of our time did not escape ted kennedy's notice. his public faith was reinforced and nurtured in the christian scriptures. we've heard matthew today. now we should remember the gospel of luke commonly known as the gospel of the poor. the jesus of luke knew the poor of his time well.
he was in their midst often. he advocated for them, defended them, and reminded his disciples of god's special concern for them. at the heart of luke's gospel stands the person of mary, the mother of jesus. senator kennedy had a special respect for her great prayer, a prayer which simultaneously glorified god for his blessings and promised god's protection of the poor. in his final days, the senator and vicki and i wondered this prayer in terms of the meaning of his life's work. our blessed mother proclaims these sentiments. god's mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. he's shown mite with his arm and dispersed the arrogant of mind
and heart. he's thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. the hungry he's filled with good things. the rich he has sent away empty. ted kennedy, of course, lived in a far more complex world than that of jesus' time and place. but that challenge evoked from him his public gifts. he understood the complexity of the society in which he lived. he was renowned for his mastery of the data, for his sense of the possible and for his genius at crafting law and policy in ways which benefited the widow and observances -- orphans of our time. again, he described the motivation of his public life in light of the legacy of his brother robert's vision when he spoke these words.
"our future may be beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control." it is the shaping impulse of america that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history but the work of our hands matched to reason and principle that will determine our destiny. every public figure has a uniquely personal life distinct from but not totally separated from the public world of work and achievement. others have remembered in the past week -- and we'll address this morning -- the record aftef achievement of ted kennedy. i'd like to close with this reflection. as one lives more toward the
final moments of life, the public character fades and the deeper personal convictions and commitments which have sustained a person through a long and complex life come to occupy the center stage. this was the case in the last few weeks and months as ted and vicki together face the last measure of his life. like any priest would be, i was present for them and with them. the faith which had sustained a visible, historic presence now became the faith which teaches us how to see this life and light of the next life. the gift of the eucharist which jesus promised would nourish us in this life and would carry us to eternal life became a source
of even greater strength and comfort for ted and vicki. as the end approached, the convictions that sustained senator ted kennedy through so many public struggles became the source of quiet confidence in a truth taught by his church at the second vatican council in these words. we do not know the time for the consummation of the earth and of humanity, but we are taught that god is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where justice will abide and whose blessedness will answer and surpass all the longings for peace which spring up in the human heart. today at this holy eucharist we
pray. we are confident that ted kennedy has enderred -- enderred this new dwelling of god. for as the liturgy today inspires us, lord, for your faithful people life has changed not ended. when the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, we gain an every lasting -- everlasting dwelling place in heaven. may he rest in peace.
>> now we pray to the lord not only for teddy but for all of us he leaves behind. among his brothers and sisters he was the youngest. so now his grandchildren, his younger nieces and nephews, and the youngest child of one of his nieces will offer the intersessions. each time please respond "lord hear our prayer." teddy served for 47 years of the
and he summoned us all to service. and so these intersessions are in his words for the work in his life is in our prayer for our country and our world. >> for my grandfather's commitment and persistence not to out worn values but old values that will never wear out. never without human need. that circumstances may change but the work of compassion must continue. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> for my grandpa, that we will not in our nation measure human beings by what they cannot do
but instead value them for what they can do. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> for what my grandpa called the cause of his life as he said so often, in every part of this land, that every american will have decent quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege, we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> for a new season of hope that my uncle teddy envisioned will we rise to our best ideals and close the book on the old politics of race and gender, group against group and straight against gay. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> for my uncle teddy's call to keep the promise that all men and women who live here, even strangers and newcomers, can rise no matter what their color,
no matter what their place of birth. for workers out of work, students without tuition for college and families without the chance to own a home. for all americans seeking a better life and a better land. for all of those left out or left behind. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> for my uncle's stand against violence, hate and war and his belief that peace can be kept through the triumph of justice and the truest justice can come only through the works of peace. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> as my uncle teddy once told thousands and millions, may it be said of us in dark passages and bright days and the words that my brothers quoted and loved, that have a special meaning for us now. i am part of all that i have
met, though much is taken, much advise. that which we are, we are. one equal temper of heroic hearts, strong in will to strife to seek, to find and not to yield. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> for the joy of my uncle teddy's laughter, the light of his presence, his rare and noble contributions to the human spirit, for his faith that in heaven, his father and mother, his brothers and sisters, and all who went before him will welcome him home. and for all the times to come when the rest of us will think of him, cuddling affectionately on the boat, surrounded by family as we sailed in the nantucket sound. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer.
>> for my grandfather's brave promise last summer that the work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> lord our god, giver of peace and giver of souls, hear the prayers of the redeemer jesus christ and the voices of your people whose lives were purchased by the blood of the lamb. forgive the sins of all who sleep in christ and grant them a place in your kingdom. we ask this through christ our lord. >> amen.
♪ ♪
>> your sacrifice and ours may be acceptable to god the almighty father. >> may the lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, the
praise and glory of his name. for the good and the good of all his church. >> lord, accept this sacrifice we offer for our brother ted kennedy on the day of his burial. may your love cleanse him from his human weakness and forgive any sins he may have committed. all of this we ask through christ our lord. amen. the lord be with you. >> and also with you. >> lift up your hearts. >> we lift them up to the lord. >> let us give thanks to the lord our god. >> it is right to give our thanks and praise. >> father all powerful and ever living god, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through jesus christ our lord. in him who rose from the dead our hope of resurrection dawned. the sadness of death gives way to the bright promise of immortality. lord, through your faithful
people life is changed not ended. when the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven. and so if all the choirs of angels in heaven, we proclaim your glory and join them in their unending him of praise. holy, holy, holy lord, god of power and light, heaven and earth are full of your glory, hohosana in the highest. blessed is he who comes in the name of the lord. hosana in the highest. all life, all holiness comes from you, through your son jesus christ our lord, by the working
of the holy spirit. from age to age you gather our people to yourself so that from east to west a perfect offering may be made to the glory of your name. and so, father, we bring you these gifts. we ask you to make them holy by the power of your spirit, that they may become the body and bloods of your son, our lord jesus christ, at whose command we celebrate this eucharist. on the night he was betrayed he took bread and gave you thanks and praise. he broke the bread and gave it to his disciples and said take this, all of you and eat it, this is the body which will be given up for you. when supper was ended, he took the cup. again he gave you thanks and
praise. he gave the cup to his disciples and said, take this, all of you, and drink from it, this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. it will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. do this in memory of me. father, calling to mind the death your son endured for our salvation, his glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven and ready to greet him when he comes again, we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice. look with favor on your church's offering and see the victim whose death has reconciled us to
yourself. grant that we who are nourished by his body and blood may be filled with his holy spirit and become one body, one spirit in christ. >> may he make us an everlasting gift to you and enable us to share in the inheritance of your saints. with mary, th the virgin motherf god, with joseph, her husband, the apostles, the martyrs, and all your saints on who we rely for help. >> lord, may this sacrifice which has made our peace with you, advance the peace and salvation of all the world, strengthen in faith and in love your pilgrim church on earth, your servant pope benedict, our cardinal archbishop sean and all the bishops with the clergy and the entire people your son has gained for you. father, hear the prayers of the
family you gathered here before you. in a special way, lord, remember our dear friend ted in that he died with christ. may he also share his resurrection when christ will raise our mortal bodies and make them like his in his own glory. welcome into your kingdom our departed, brothers and sisters, and all who have left this world in your friendship. there we hope to share in your glory when every tear will be wiped away. on that day we shall see you, our god, as you are. we shall become like you and praise you with every thought through christ our lord from whom all good things come.
through him with him in him. in the unity of the holy spirit. all glory and honor is yours, almighty father, forever and ever. amen. let us pray now together in the words that our father taught us. our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. deliver us, lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our days.
in your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, jesus christ. for the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. lord, jesus christ, you said to your apostles, i leave you peace, my peace i give you. look not on our sins but on the faith of your church. and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live forever and ever. >> amen. >> the peace of the lord be with you. >> and also with you. >> let us offer each other a sign of peace.
>> lamb of god, you take away the sins of the world. have mercy on us. lamb of god, you take away the sins of the word. have mercy on us. lamb of god, you take away the
sins of the world. grant us peace. lord jesus christ, with faith in your love and mercy, we eat your body and drink your blood. bring us health in mind and body. this is the lamb of god who takes away the sins of the world, happy are those who are called to his coming. lord, i am not worthy to receive you. but only say the word and i shall be healed. may the body of christ bring us to everlasting light. amen.
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
>> my name is ted kennedy, junior. a name i share with my son, a name i shared with my father. although it hasn't been easy at times to live with this name, i have never been more proud of it than i am today. your eminence, thank you for being here. you've graced us with your presence. to all the musicians who have come here, my father loved the arts and he would be so pleased for your performances today. my heart is filled, and i first want to say thank you. my heart is filled with appreciation and gratitude to the people of massachusetts my father's loyal staff, who in many ways my dad's loss is just as great for them as it is for those of us in our family. and to all of my father's
family and friends, who have come to pay their respects, listening to them speak about how my father impacted their lives and the deep personal connection that people felt with my dad has been an overwhelming emotional experience. my dad had the greatest friends in the world. all of you here are also my friends. and his greatest gift to me. i love you just as much as he did. sarah brown, tashep, president obama, president clinton, secretary clinton, president bush, president carter, you honor my family by your presence here today. i remember how my dad would tell audiences years ago, i don't mind not being president. i just mind that someone else is. there is much to say and much
will be said about ted kennedy, the statesman, the master of the legislative process and bipartisan compromise, work horse of the senate, beaken of social justice, and protector of the people. there's also much to be said and much will be said about my father, the man, the story teller, the lovor of costume parties, the practical joker, the accomplished painter. he was a lover of emping french, cheese, wine, and women. he was a mountain climber, navigator, skipper, tact tigs, airplane, pilot, radio rider, ski jumper, dog lover, and all around adventurer. our family vacations left us all injured and exhausted. he was a dinner table debater and devil's advocate. he was an irishman and a proud member of the democratic party. here's one you may not know.
out of harvard he was a green bay packers recruit but decided to go to law school instead. he was a devout catholic whose faith helped him survive unbearable losses, and whose teachings taught him that he had a moral obligation to help others in need. he was not perfect. far from it. but my father believed in redemption. and he never surrendered. never stopped trying to right wrongs. be they the results of his own failings, or of ours. but today, i'm simply compelled to remember ted kennedy as my father and my best friend. when i was 12 years old, i was diagnosed with bone cancer and a few months after i lost my leg there was a heavy snowfall over my childhood home outside of washington, d.c. and my father went to the garage to get the old flexible flier and
asked me if i wanted to go sleding down the steep driveway. and i was trying to get used to my artificial leg and the hill was covered with ice and snow. and the hill was very slick p. and as i struggled to walk, i slipped and i fell on the ice and i started to cry. and i said, i can't do this. i said, i'll never be able to climb up that hill. and he lifted me up in his strong, gentle arms, and said something i will never forget. he said, i know you can do it. there is nothing that you can't do. we're going to climb that hill together. even if it takes us all day. sure enough, he held me around my waist and we slowly made it to the top. and, you know, at age 12 losing your leg pretty much seems like
the end of the world. but as i climbed on to his back and we flew down the hill that day, i knew he was right. i knew i was going to be ok. you see, my father taught me that even our most profound losses are surviveable. and that is -- it is what we do with that loss, our ability to transform it into a positive event, that is one of my father's greatest lessons. he taught me that nothing is impossible. during the summer months when i was growing up, my father would arrive late in the afternoon from washington on fridays. and as soon as he got to cape cod he would want to go out and practice sailing maneuvers in anticipation of that weekend's races. and we would be out late and the sun would be setting and family dinner would be getting cold and we would still be out there practicing our jives and our spin acker sets long after everyone else had gone ashore. one night, not another boat in
night on the summer sea, i asked him, why are we always the last ones on the water? teddy, he said, you see, most of the other sailers that we race against are smarter and more talented than we are. but the reason, but the reason why we're going to win is that we will work harder than them and we will be better prepared. and he just wasn't talking about boating. my father admired perseverence. my father believed that to do a job effectively required a tremendous amount of time and effort. dad instilled in me also the importance of history and biography. he loved boston and the amazing writers and philosophers and politicians from massachusetts. he took me and my cousins to the old north church and to waleden pond and to the homes of he remember min melville and natsdz anal haw thorn and the berkshires. he thought that massachusetts
was the greatest place on earth and he had letters from many of its former senators hanging on his walls. inspired by things heroic. he was a civil war buff. when we were growing up he would pack us all into his car or rented camper and we would travel around to all the great battle fields. i remember he would frequently meet with his friend at a particular site on the anniversary of an historic battle just so he could appreciate better what the soldiers must have experienced on that day. he believed that in order to know what to do in the future you had to understand the past. my father loved other old things. he loved his classic wooden schooner, the myia. he loved white houses and his 1973 pontiac convertible. my father taught me to treat everyone i meet, no matter what station in life, with the same
dignity and respect. he could be discussing arm control with the president at 3:00 p.m. and meeting with the union carpenter on fair wage legislation or a new bed fered fisherman on fishries policies at 4:30. i once told him that he had accidentally left some money. i remember this when i was a little kid. on the sink in our hotel room. and he replide, teddy, let me tell you something. making beds all day is back breaking work. the woman who has to clean up after us today has a family to feed. and that's just the kind of guy he was. he answered uncle joe's call to patriotism, uncle jack's call to public service, and bobby's determination to seek a newer world. unlike them, he lived to be a grand father and knowing what my cousins had been through, i feel grateful that i have had
my father as long as i did. he even taught me some of life's harder lessons. such as how to like republicans. he once told me he said, teddy, republicans love this country just as much as i do. i think that he felt like he had something in common with his republican counter parts. the vagueries of public opinion. . the constant scrutiny of the press. the endless campaigning for the next election. but, most of all, the incredible shared sacrifice that being in public life demands. he understood that the hardship that politics has on a family and the hard work and commitment that it requires. he often brought his republican colleagues home for dinner, and he believed in developing personal relationships and honoring differences.
and one of the wonderful experiences that i will remember today is how many of his republican colleagues are sitting here right before him. that's a true testament to the man. and he always told me that always be ready to compromise, but never compromise on your principles. he was an idealist and a pragmatist. he was restless but patient. when he learned that a survey of republican senators named him the democratic legislature that they most wanted to work with, and that john mccain called him the single most effective member of the u.s. senate, he was so proud, because he considered the combination of accolades from your supporters and respect from your sometime political adversaries as one of the ultimate goals of the successful political life. at the end of his life, my dad
returned home. he died at the place he loved more than any other, cape cod. the last months of my dad's life were not sad or terrifying. but filled with profound experiences, a series of moments more precious than i could have imagined. he taught me more about humility, vulnerability, and courage thead taught me in my whole life. although he lived a full and complete life by any measure, the fact is he wasn't done. he still had work to do. he was so proud of where we had recently come as a nation. and although i do grieve for what might have been, for what he might have helped us accomplish, i pray today that we can set aside the sadness and instead celebrate all that he was and did and stood for. i will try to live up to the
high standard that my father set for all of us when he said, the work goes on. the cause endures. the hope still lives. and the dream shall never die. i love you, dad. i always will. and i miss you already. [applause]
>> president and mrs. obama, distinguished guests, friends of my father, all of you, well, a nation has lost a great senator. my brothers and sisters and i have lost a loving father. when i was a kid, i couldn't breathe. growing up, i suffered from chronic and crippling asthma attacks and the medications they had to give to me were very difficult and gave me a throbbing headache every night that i had to use my nebulizer. now, obviously i wish i did not have to suffer those attacks and endure those headaches. nor did i like having to grow up having a special nonallergenic, nonsmoking room reserved for me whenever we went on family vacations. but as i now realize years later, while asthma may have
posed a challenge to my physical health, it propped up my emotional and mental health because it kept my father by my bedside. my dad was always sure to be within reach of me. and the side effects of the medication meant that he was always holding a cold wet towel on my forehead until i fell asleep again from my heak. as far as the special -- headache. as far as a special effort that i had a special room to sleep in, this usually meant that i got the nicest room and it also ensured that dad was my room mate. i couldn't have seen it at the time, but having asthma was like hitting the jackpot for a child who craved his father's love and attention. when his light shined on me alone, there was no better feeling in all of the world.
when dad was away, i often didn't know when he would return. and as a young boy, i didn't know why he wasn't around at christmastime when santa came to the house. and i really wandered why santa had the same two moles on his face that my dad had. and, in the same places my dad. even after i figured out that that was my dad and the costume finally came off, he still remained to me a magical figure. as a little kid, i didn't look like much of a sailer. but my dad thought otherwise. you see, in sailing there are rules as well, much like government. tireless mundane rules that will surely make you sea sick. the rule was,